6 Critical Supply Chain Trends To Shake Up 2023

While global supply chains are transitioning to a post-pandemic world, more challenges await companies in 2023. A brewing energy crisis, rising inflation and recessionary pressures have combined to create a new landscape of uncertainty and disruption. This begs the question: What lies in store for the global supply chain? We look at six supply chain trends that you should look out for this year.

Supply Chain Trends

1. Automation

Automation is becoming increasingly important in the supply chain industry as companies seek to cut costs, reduce manual labour, and increase efficiency. Warehouse automation, for example, is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% between 2024 and 2027. 

As automation continues to evolve, more companies will likely begin to adopt these technologies in their supply chains. 

2. Data Analytics

The continuing digitalisation of supply chain processes means that data analytics will also have a growing role in optimising the supply chain process. Companies are turning to data analytics tools such as predictive modelling and AI-driven optimisation algorithms to better understand their customers’ needs and anticipate demand more accurately. This enables them to make informed decisions on production levels, inventory management, pricing strategies, logistics planning, and more. 

3. Sustainability

Sustainability has become an essential factor for many businesses regarding supply chain operations. As both buyers (clients) and customers become more aware of environmental issues like climate change and plastic waste reduction, suppliers must demonstrate their sustainability principles across their entire business model. These can include sourcing materials responsibly, using renewable energy sources for production, or reducing emissions during the transportation and storage of goods. 

Suppliers can address this challenge by gaining supplier accreditation. Through a robust accreditation process, organisations can certify that their practices meet the sustainability needs of local communities and engage with stakeholders in ways that emphasise ethical principles.

4. Digitalisation of Logistics

Digitalisation of logistics operations is becoming increasingly common as companies look for ways to save costs while maintaining efficiency within their supply chains. This involves making use of digital technologies such as cloud computing, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, mobile applications, RFID tags, blockchain networks etc. This can help streamline processes such as warehouse management or track shipments with real-time updates from all stakeholders involved in the process (e.g., carriers). 

5. Collaborative Networks

Collaborative networks are being built between companies within the same industry or even across industries to enable better coordination between stakeholders to optimise operations across different parts of the supply chain process (e.g., procurement or manufacturing). These collaborative networks allow companies to share resources such as warehouses or transportation services, leading to cost savings due to economies of scale.  

6. Inventory Management

Inventory management has always been an essential part of supply chain operations, but new technologies are now making it easier than ever before for companies to monitor inventory levels in real-time. Then, they can better anticipate fluctuations in demand or changes in customer preferences more quickly than before — which allows them faster response times when dealing with these situations.

Author: Alex Minett

Alex Minett is the Head of Product & Markets at CHAS, the UK’s leading health and safety assessment scheme and provider of risk mitigation, compliance, and supply chain management services. With a working history in the audit and management consulting industry, Alex is experienced in implementing visions and strategies. Skilled in negotiation, management and business development, he is passionate about driving CHAS in its mission to safeguard organisations from risk in the UK. 

LinkedIn: Alex Minett